Tucker’s Remission

Today our prayers were answered. Tuck’s follow up oncology appt was a happy one. Dr Calo was very pleased with how well Tucker is doing. No signs of cancer and our furbaby is officially in remission. It’s been a long and emotional 10 months but we never let Tuck down. We made an agreement that we would do all we could no matter how much we had to sacrifice in order to give him every possible option to live another day. Well today proved Tuck was determined as we were. He wasn’t ready to go. Despite losing all his hair, going thru surgery, a month straight of radiation, a few rounds of chemo, living in the cone of shame for about 2 months and breaking out in a rash all over his body, he fought through. He’s our super hero furbaby.

Now with that being said, with every positive there is always a negative. Tucks cancer will one day return. He had a high grade soft tissue sarcoma type 3. When and where it returns only God knows. But I refuse to live in the future. We are living for what’s here. Living today and enjoying every minute we have. Tomorrow is never promised so why live it. Tucker isn’t worrying about tomorrow. He’s worrying about the treats he’s getting now. The belly rubs that’s coming and unconditional love he’s giving to us all. I don’t need what may be tomorrow when I have what is today.




Well first I want to say sorry for the long delay in posting. its been somewhat of a crazy summer and fall these past few months. Mom and dad have been a little busy dealing with my pretty serious health issues. Well at least that’s the way I understand it. Or more like what mommy has told others that I happen to over here. Let me start at the beginning.

In May, my family noticed a bump on my leg. Seemed fine to me but apparently it was a little more than a little bump. My mom took me to the vet a few days after she noticed it and the Doctor thought it was nothing more then a fatty tissue that probably should be removed in the next few months. nothing of any major urgency but something to be addressed. So my mom scheduled the surgery for a few weeks later and home we went.

The next 2 weeks the bump that was suppose to not get any bigger was suddenly huge. I’m talking gumball size. Not a little gumball  but one of those big jumbo gumballs. So back to the vet I went and the doctor immediately said lets remove it today. Better to be safe then sorry and have it pop. Well needless to say my eyeballs felt like popping out of my head. I was like “whoa, wait a second, do I get a say in this? Like remove it now, today, this very second?” 

So off mom went and they took me back to prep for surgery. Mom gave me lots of kisses (which I love my moms kisses) and promised she would be here when I wake up. And just like that I was awake and ready to go home. A leg full of stitches and a cone of shame on my head but all I knew was mom was where she said she would be. Waiting right there for me. We arrived home and I was greeted by the rest of the family who dished out lots more kisses and love. I was living it up. Big bump was gone and I was on my way to getting better to run after my ball in the yard. 

Then I heard mom say to my sister she would be away for the weekend at a soccer tournament. Normally that meant I was headed to my favorite place BEST FRIENDS FUREVER DOGGIE DAYCARE. But not this weekend. I had to stay home with my sister because of this stupid surgery and stitches. At this point I was beyond angry. Now I am stuck at home with my sister, mom is leaving me, I have stitches and a sore leg and a cone on my head. Life is not going how I Hoped. But I was not down yet. I had a few tricks up my sleeve, or behind my cone. lol I managed to very quietly and sneaky get that stupid cone off my head and I licked those stitches until there was no more. That cone was not holding me back. That’s fur sure. get it, fur sure. lol 

Needless to say, that was an epic fail. Sis woke up and was frantic. My wound was open, stitches gone and mom was 3 hrs away. Someone was going to be in trouble. All the puppy dog eyes in the world would not save the trouble I was going to be in when mommy got home. Well when she finally walked in the house 11 pm that night after a long soccer weekend and a 4 hr drive thanks to traffic, I knew by the look on her face I did something bad. Being that I am a dog and can’t say I am sorry, I was left with putting my head down and peeking out through those puppy dog eyes. Mom did raise her voice but I know it was out of love and for my own good. I knew she was going to have to take me back to the vet the next day to get new stitches in. 

Over the next few weeks, I was re-stitched, put on medicine, had to wear the cone of shame for almost 4 weeks until my leg healed and was  just miserable. Then if matters were not bad enough, my family left me for a cruise they had planned for over a year. It was the longest 9 days of my life. I was able to stay at my favorite place but because I was injured and had a cone I couldn’t do all the fun things I normally did there. So needless to say, it went from bad to worse. After all of that, mom returned from her vacay and I was sooooo happy to see her. We went back to the vet to get stitches out and the dr delivered the unbelievable news. What seem to be a positive day suddenly turned into the worst news ever. My biopsy came back and my big bump turned out to be Cancerous. Now to me and all my dog friends that really doesn’t mean a lot, but to my mom and dad and all my human friends, apparently that’s the worst word humanly possible. I could tell my mom wanted to cry her eyes out but she needed to be strong for me and my human brother Brandon. The Dr was super caring in delivering the news and felt pretty positive that we could fix this situation but we needed to go see another doctor. An Oncologist who specializes in cancer. 

Mom took me home and gave me so much love that night I felt like the luckiest dog ever. Lots of hugs and belly rubs came my way. How can I Be upset with all these belly rubs. Cancer meant nothing to me, but I was living it up right now. The next few weeks we spent going back and forth to the beach. My second favorite place. Then the time came to go visit this new doctor. This so-called Oncologist I keep hearing about. So off we went and I was feeling positive. So was mom and my brother who decided to tag along. I was excited to hop in the truck and spend some time with my mom no matter where we were headed. 

So we go in and meet the new doctor. He talked a lot and examined me. I am think everything is going great. Give me some medicine and I am out of here. Nope, not the case. No medicine at all but instead some more bad news. I mean seriously, how much can one 3-year-old dog stand to hear in one month. Well the doctor delivered the even more dreaded news. The cancer was a high-grade soft tissue sarcoma. Now what does that all mean. Well not a whole heavenly lot to me and my doggy friends, but to my humans, it meant something awful. I saw my brothers eyes fill up and I could tell by my moms voice and her face that she was about to bawl her eyes out. The dr explained the best option for a longer life expectency would be to do radiation and then followed up with Chemotherapy. I couldn’t  imagine what that consisted of but the names alone sounded scary. There was no hesitation in my moms decision to do whatever we could to save my life. There was no well I’ll have to think about it or anything like that. Simply put, Mom said we will do whatever is needed. I love my mom, she does whatever is needed to give all of us the best life. 

I ended up hanging out with all the super sweet nurses at the oncology place for the day and had all these tests done. I was ok with it because everyone loved me. They kept giving me belly rubs and hugs and kisses. I thought boy I really am liking this Cancer thing. I could get use to this. (That’s only because I am not real sure what cancer is. Sounds like candy. lol) Over the next few weeks, between beach time and follow ups, my mom finally found a place that does these Radiation treatments. Of course there was no place in the state of Maryland that does them which is sad. Without them, I wouldn’t make it but a few months. Why would a state as big as Maryland with lots of dog friends not have a place to save our lives. I just don’t understand. So my mom found a place in Virginia. It’s a 2 hr drive 1 way but its the best shot we got so mom set up the consult and off we went. we met with the dr who was super nice. I’ve been really lucky to have all these nice people taking such good care of me. Mom set up the treatments and on Sept 10 we began 18 long treatments of Radiation. Everyday for 3 1/2 weeks. We would have to leave at 5:30 am to begin our long journey. Mom and dad spent 5 hrs everyday giving me the best option to live a few extra years. They never gave up on me. They didn’t abandon me and they put their lives on hold so I could get the best care ever. I couldn’t thank mommy and daddy enough and I will do my best to provide lots of unconditional love to them. 

Over those 18 days, my legs were shaved to make room for the IV’s and the area to be radiated. I was unable to get a bath for the past 4 weeks and apparently will not be able to for another 4 weeks. I had to take medicine 2 times a day and will continue for the next several weeks and I unhappily have to wear a cone which will continue for the next several weeks until I m all healed up. I have been poked with needles for blood work and have not been able to visit all my doggie friends at Best Friends Furever, but I am doing great otherwise. I was a little sleepy on the long rides but other than that I handled it like a champ. I will have a follow-up in 2 weeks and then begin Chemo in a few weeks. I will be so glad when all this is over and I am back to my old self. I am much to young to have anything holding me back and I will be forever grateful to my family for giving me the extended time they have and whatever time God shines my way. I leave the rest of my journey and fate in his hands and I know whatever lies ahead that I will have the best family ever beside me. To all my human friends, please know that your fur babies are here to provide you with unconditional love. All that we expect is some belly rubs and kisses. Nothing more than that. For all my doggie friends, If you here your humans talk about Cancer, Don’t feel sad. Don’t count your days down. Stand on all 4’s or whatever you have and know that you are about to receive endless amounts of belly rubs, doggie kisses and big bear hugs. Milk it for all you can but don’t take life for granted. Just enjoy every day you have with your human friends and family. They are your best hope for survival. IMG_4286IMG_4060.jpg

5 Dog Supplements You Must Know About

There are so many supplements for dogs out there, but which dog supplements does your furry friend truly need? A vet weighs in with the top dog supplements and some advice.
Dr. Ernie Ward | Mar 20th 2018


1. Omega-3 fatty acids

The first supplement I recommend for any dog, cat or person is an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been recognized as powerful brain fuels for nearly a hundred years. The best sources of DHA/EPA for dogs are oils from fish and algae. Omega-3 supplements may potentially improve learning and preserve memory and cognition, aid eyesight and the nervous system and combat harmful inflammation.
DHA/EPA is a dog supplement that’s also helpful in treating arthritis, allergies and many skin conditions. Pets fed dry commercial diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids benefit from daily omega-3 supplements. Adding DHA/EPA to your dog’s diet helps restore a healthier balance of omega-6 to omega-3. Dosage may vary widely and depends on the dog’s age, weight, diet and medical condition. I typically use pet omega-3 formulations and avoid supplements with added Vitamin D.
2. Glucosamine
Dog glucosamine products are everywhere: Television advertisements boast miraculous claims, pet store shelves overflow with choices, and social media stories are abundant. But where there’s hype and hope, there’s also hoax. How can you tell the difference? I’ve been an advocate of glucosamine for decades, but I’ve become increasingly wary of some of the products.
One of the first things I look for when choosing dog supplements is the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal. NASC was established in 2002 to ensure quality and reduce risk for animal nutraceuticals. Next, is the company reputable and trustworthy? Can I speak to someone about ingredient sources, research and quality control? Finally, is there evidence to support usage? Veterinary formulations of glucosamine have been well-researched and have earned my trust. Talk with your veterinarian about the best glucosamine supplement for your dog.
3. Probiotics
I attended a special nutritional conference focused on probiotic research for humans and dogs last summer. A team of Harvard scientists impressed the audience with multiple studies proving probiotics’ positive health impacts in humans and animals. Improved digestive health, enhanced immunity and preventing many diseases were just a few of the potential benefits.
I left feeling validated and committed to promoting probiotics for my pet patients, especially those being boarded, stressed, undergoing anesthesia or with GI problems. I advise using a veterinary formulation or whole food probiotic containing at least one billion CFUs (colony forming units) daily.
4. S-Adenosylmethionine
SAMe, an anti-inflammatory supplement, is used primarily in dogs with liver disease, cognitive decline and arthritis. In humans, SAMe is also used to improve mood and combat depression and Alzheimer’s, and some veterinarians use it in certain behavioral conditions. I recommend SAMe for older pets with declining mental function, liver problems, toxin exposure and as part of my arthritis treatment. I only use special veterinary formulations proven to be properly absorbed. These products have a special coating that prevents stomach acid breakdown.
5. L-carnitine
I’ve recommended carnitine to my canine patients for years as an aid in weight loss, heart disease and to support brain function in older pets. (I also take it.) Dosing can range from 100 milligrams to 2 grams per day, based on the dog’s individual needs. Before I prescribe it, I always check for hypothyroidism, due to carnitine’s potential to impair thyroid hormone function. When treating obesity or heart disease, I often combine with omega-3, coenzyme Q10 and taurine.
Other dog supplements to know
These are only a few of the most common dog supplements your veterinarian may recommend. I’d also add turmeric, B vitamins, medicinal mushrooms, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) … the list can grow. My best advice is to talk with your veterinarian, determine your pet’s needs, and focus on a few supplements that make the most sense for your dog. Look for the NASC seal, ask for peer-reviewed studies, and investigate the manufacturer. What you choose to feed — and supplement — is the most important health decision you make for your dog each day.
Don’t overdo it when it comes to dog supplements

Thumbnail: Photography by Holly Hildreth Photography.
Dr. Ernie Ward is an internationally recognized veterinarian known for his innovations in general small-animal practice, long-term medication monitoring, special needs of senior dogs and cats and pet obesity. He has authored three books and has been a frequent guest on numerous TV programs.


14 Ways to Deal With Muddy and Dirty Paws

How do you handle the dirty paws and muddy paws that come along with winter’s final snow and ice storms and spring showers? Check out our tips!

Here are a few tips we can all use to help combat dirty paws during the winter to spring transition:

1. Restrict access to muddy places.Dog-paws-and-human-rain-boots-in-mud.jpg

Cut back on dirty paws by stopping your pup from digging in the yard and fencing off any areas that can get muddy, like flower beds.

2. Make a wash station.

Inside the door of your entry area, keep a big, washable rug and a basket of dog towels. For wet days, you may want to add a hair dryer.

3. Keep wipes in the car.

Cleaning dirty paws in the car not only makes getting into the house easier, but it also helps keep your car clean.

4. Condition your dog to foot touching.

Not all pups like their feet touched. Until he’s familiar with getting wiped down, take it slow, and use lots of encouragement and treats.

5. Shampoo and moisturize those dirty paws.

Because you’ll be wiping your dog’s paws at least once a day, use a gentle soap. Try dry shampoo or one that’s used for show dogs and safe to be used daily. Finish off with a paw conditioner or moisturizer.

6. Get some dog booties.

The right “shoes” can help keep your pup from bringing in dirt and mud. Choose booties meant for the type of outdoor activity your pup is doing, and take it slow at first. Use positive reinforcement to make it a good experience.

7. Try indoor socks.

Get your dog the equivalent of bedroom slippers. This is especially helpful on laminate floors that tend to pick up paw prints easily.

8. Keep things trimmed.

Don’t just trim your dog’s nails. Keep an eye out for any hair poking out between the pads. Trimming that back will not only make any cleaning effort easier but will cut down on the amount of dirt that your pup picks up.

9. Do some basic training.

Teaching your dog the “sit, stay” cue will help a lot! He may have the urge to run through your living room and expensive rugs, but a well-trained pup will stay put when told. “Walk around” or “go in a circle” commands can help get your dog to dry off his own paws on your entry mat.

10. Meet microfiber.

There is such a thing as a paw-cleaning mitt! Google it! This glove is usually covered with microfiber material that grabs onto the dirt or mud and is easy to wash. Simple microfiber cloths work, too.

11. Let floor covers do the work for you.

Put an absorbent mat outside the door, and add a runner inside that your dog must walk on. This should help brush off dirt and help dry paws.

12. Protect those paws.

Put natural dog wax products on your pup’s paws before you head outside. The wax barrier will help keep dirt and mud from getting too deep into the fur and sides of the paw pads.

13. Save your furniture.

A cover on your sofa and other furniture that you can easily take off and wash can help if your dog enjoys lying on them and rubbing his dirty feet all over the place.

14. Be careful of salt/sand.


Material like salt or sand that is used on snow and ice can be trouble. Wipe all this off your dog’s dirty paws as soon as possible. Not only will it keep your dog from ingesting it when he licks his feet, it also keeps that abrasive material off your floors.

Cleaning tips for dirty or muddy paw prints:

  1. For small areas of grout, try using the eraser of a No. 2 pencil.
  2. For tougher grout stains, use special grout cleaning products or a paste made of baking soda and water. Apply with a tooth- brush or grout cleaning brush.
  3. Sweep any hard surface before you mop.
  4. Daily mopping with warm water should work for most paw prints.
  5. If you do use a cleaning solution or vinegar on your floor, go over once more with plain water and a dry mop to finish.
  6. On carpet, let the mud dry to make cleaning easier.
  7. Dry mud on carpet should be vacuumed up slowly first. Hit the mud at all angles, and take your time.
  8. When doing your final cleanup on carpet, blot, don’t rub, so you don’t harm the fibers.
  9. Remove tracked-in water from flooring as soon as possible.